Hiking Huron Peak | A Great First 14er

Many people say that Huron Peak has the best summit view of all the 14ers. Located deep in the Sawatch Range, it’s just across the valley from the famous Three Apostles, centennial 13ers. It’s a relatively easy hike if you have a 4WD vehicle to make it up to the upper trailhead. This makes it a great choice for your first fourteener – it’s a much better option than the extremely crazy Grays Peak, Quandary Peak, or Mount Bierstadt. Be sure to enjoy the historic mining town, Winfield, on your drive-in as well. If you plan on hiking Huron Peak, get ready with this free route guide.

NEW TO 14ERS? CHECK OUT MY BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR A SAFE FIRST SUMMIT!

Hiking Huron Peak: Fast Facts

Hiking Huron Peak - Northwest Slope Route

Head out on the trail from the trailhead. Thankfully, the Huron Peak route starts with grand views from the very start. As you begin hiking Huron Peak, you’ll see the Three Apostles rising above you at the end of the valley. As you pop in and out of the treeline, enjoy the sight of them reaching into the sky.

After a time along the slope, follow a gully more or less straight up the mountain until you reach a large basin. This normally holds snow into early summer, in which case microspikes and trekking poles are helpful. Follow the trail across the basin as you head towards the ramp to the left ahead of you.

Take a left up the next section as you head out of the basin and then wrap back to the right to begin climbing up towards the summit.

Head into another short section of switchbacks as you climb past a series of rock outcroppings. Aim for the point where the trail meets the ridge below the summit, a great place to stop and check the weather for brewing storms before your final summit push.

Continue to weave your way up the slope, taking care during snowy and/or rocky sections. As you reach the summit, soak in magnificent mountains spreading out before you in every direction. 

Make sure you leave plenty of time left to get back to the treeline before afternoon thunderstorms become a significant hazard. I hope you enjoyed my Huron Peak Route Guide! Good luck on your climb and safe travels hiking Huron Peak.

This topographical map of the Huron Peak route is a must-have for your hike up the peak. If you plan on hiking Huron Peak, I recommend downloading a copy on your phone and printing out a backup paper copy in case anything happens to your electronics along the way. A map can make the difference between a fun, safe climb and a miserable emergency.

Huron Peak Route Guide

It’s a good idea to check the weather several times before hiking Huron Peak as the forecast is constantly changing. It’s also a good idea to check several different sources to get an idea of all the potential predictions. Here are two sources for checking weather along the Huron Peak route.

Huron Peak NOAA Forecast

Huron Peak Mountain Forecast

The trailhead can be difficult to reach for those hiking Huron Peak. A 2WD vehicle can get to the lower trailhead at Winfield, but you will need high clearance and 4WD to make it to the upper trailhead.

DIRECTIONS TO THE WINFIELD/CLEAR CREEK TRAILHEAD:

From Leadville: Drive 20 miles south on U.S. 24 and turn right on the Chaffee County 390 road. From Buena Vista: Drive 14.5 miles north on U.S. 24 and turn left on the Chaffee County 390 road. On the 390 road (dirt), drive 11.8 miles to Winfield. Turn left and measure from here. Drive 0.1 mile to reach the lower, 2WD trailhead on the left. After 0.4 mile, the road gets rugged and narrow (4WD required). After 0.7 mile, stay right at a junction. After 1.7 miles, the Banker Mine road is to the left – stay straight on the main road and continue to the end, at 2.1 miles. The trail starts past the parking area.

Hiking Huron Peak will take you a good deal of time. There are many miles of hiking and a significant amount of scrambling at high altitudes. A good pair of hiking boots are ideal for this kind of adventure. Here are my top hiking boot recommendations.

You should always bring the ten essentials with you on your trip (see the infographic below). To carry them all, bring a backpack with 20-30 liters capacity. These are several good backpack options that won’t break the bank. 

While trekking poles are not a necessity on this mountain, I use them myself as they offer many benefits and make hiking easier. If you want a pair, I share my personal favorites here

Don’t forget to bring 2 liters of water, and a good bit of snacks and food for the trip. Learn more about packing for a 14er here.

Camping near Huron Peak:

There are also many dispersed camping opportunities along forest roads near the trailhead ideal for those hiking Huron Peak. Note that camping is not allowed at the trailhead. Learn more about dispersed camping near 14ers here.

Lodging near Huron Peak:

There are many cabins available via Airbnb and other services in Buena Vista and the surrounding area, ideal for those hiking Huron Peak.

Huron Peak gets a lot of traffic due to the high altitude 4WD road along its slopes. This increases the impact on the alpine tundra on this peak. Help preserve this mountain and area while hiking Huron Peak by following these Leave No Trace practices:

  • Plan ahead, review the route and pick a weekday or day in September to hike.
  • Stay on the trail, and keep dogs leashed on and off-trail to reduce trampling of alpine grass.
  • Leave your Bluetooth speaker at home and let nature’s sound reign.
  • Urinate off-trail, and pack out your waste – a cathole won’t work at high altitude.
  • Give wildlife a wide berth – 100 meters if possible. If they approach, back up to keep space.
  • Take nothing but pictures, and leave nothing but footprints.

Safe travels, and good luck hiking Huron Peak! Learn more about LNT on 14ers here.

There is disagreement over the source of the name Huron Peak. Some say it is likely a reference to one of several “Huron Mines” in the vicinity of the mountain. Others believe the peak was named after the Huron Native American tribe. It was officially named relatively recently, in 1956. This makes it among the youngest 14ers to be named officially.

The Winfield Ghost Town near the trailhead. During the town’s heyday in the late 19th century, there were 3 saloons, 3 stores, 2 hotels, a boarding house, a post office, a church, school, mill, smelter, and concentrator. Mining ended in the area in the early 1900s, and the town was abandoned shortly thereafter. You can camp in the areas near the ghost town, or visit a small museum maintained there that opens in summers on weekends. It’s worth a visit for anyone hiking Huron Peak.

Hiking Huron Peak is an inherently high-risk activity – do so at your own risk, and use the following best practices to help keep yourself safe.

  1. Research your route and bring a compass & topographic map.
  2. Check the weather forecast and stay home during inclement weather.
  3. Bring the Ten Essentials and the knowledge/skill to use them.
  4. Leave your plans with someone back home along with a detailed itinerary.
  5. Start early, and end early: Be back at tree line by noon to avoid lightning.
  6. Bring a buddy on your first ascent, preferably someone experienced.

NEW TO 14ERS? CHECK OUT MY BEGINNERS GUIDE FOR A SAFE FIRST SUMMIT!

Hiking Huron Peak is an inherently high-risk, dangerous activity. There is a significant risk of injury or death, even with proper planning and experience. Those using my guide accept all risks associated with climbing 14ers and do not hold this website or any information they obtain from it liable for any accidents or injuries that occur while engaging in these activities on Colorado’s high peaks. It is each hiker or climber’s responsibility to research their route carefully, bring the ten essentials, and practice other safe practices, though even these precautions do not eliminate risk and danger. Visit these summits at your own risk.

Alex Derr, Creator of The Next Summit

Alex is an Eagle Scout and mountaineer living in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. You can subscribe to his Next Summit Newsletter here.

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